Chiefs asking one word of their fans as training camp begins: Faith
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The table wobbles slightly as you climb on top of it. As you set your balance and rise, slowly, cautiously, you can just make out the sounds of a circle forming on the floor behind you.
Andy Reid and John Dorsey ask you to retreat to one of the table’s edges, the one nearest the circle, your back facing the unknown.
Then they ask you to close your eyes, fold your arms and … fall. Embrace the unseen.
"Trust us," Reid says.
"Trust us," Dorsey says.
So: Do you?
On Sunday, the embrace begins for real — a five-month collective trust exercise on the part of the Kansas City Chiefs and Chiefs fans, launched from the sweatbox of sunny St. Joseph, Mo.
For Dorsey, the Chiefs’ general manager, it’s throwing caution, Donald Stephenson, Marcus Cooper, Ron Parker and Junior Hemingway to the wind.
For Reid, the Chiefs’ coach, it’s putting your chips on Dwayne Bowe’s new body, Donnie Avery’s wheels, the health of Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce, and a pocket with new pieces and moving parts.
For Chiefs faithful, forever strapped to an emotional roller coaster, training camp 2014 and its adjacent preseason are not so much about expectations, this time around, as they are about one word: Faith.
Faith that outside linebacker Justin Houston will show up on time, ready to grind, primed to pick right back up where he left off.
Faith that Dorsey will show Big No. 50 the money.
Faith that Alex Smith can continue to flash the judgment, accuracy and discretion that elevated the offense last fall, while also finding a way to put the fear of God into safeties who dare to creep up and up and up and up.
Faith that nobody takes a helmet to Jamaal Charles’ knees. Or, for that matter, Jamaal Charles’ helmet.
Faith that money, contracts (or lack thereof) and egos won’t get in the way of a team that played like a family last fall. And talked like one, too.
Faith that Kelce and Sanders Commings are the NFL’s best-kept secrets.
Faith that Joe Mays flies around like he’s got dozens of old scores to settle.
Faith that Eric Fisher is ready to start playing like a franchise left tackle.
Faith that Fisher can survive the season in one piece.
Faith that Tamba Hali has plenty left in the tank, and a point to prove.
Faith that Cooper has only scratched the surface, faith that he’s taken his game to a point that compels elite quarterbacks to try their luck on the other side of the field.
Faith that there are more Sean McGraths, more understudies you’ve never heard of, ready to step in and plug the gaps in an emergency.
Faith that Husain Abdullah grabs the bull by both horns.
Faith that Dontari Poe is still serious about that no-barbecue thing.
Faith that if Cairo Santos doesn’t beat Ryan Succop out for the starting kicker job, he at least forces Succop to raise his leg to another level.
Faith that Bob Sutton and his pass-rushing secrets haven’t been really, truly, exposed.
Faith that Sean Smith has his (expletive) together.
Faith that De’Anthony Thomas can handle the oppressive heat. And most of Dexter McCluster’s old reps.
Faith that Zach Fulton, Weston Dressler, Ron Parker, Phillip Gaines and Daniel Sorensen are really diamonds that just need the right setting in order to shine.
Faith that Derrick Johnson hasn’t missed a beat.
Faith that you’ll fall in love with Dee Ford in October even more than you did in May.
Faith that 11-5 in 2013 was more about Dorsey and Reid’s handiwork and less about drawing a jaywalkers’ row of lousy quarterbacks.
Faith that The Andy Gang could let five starters hit free agency and walk, and have it not leave a scar.
Faith that the floor sits no lower than six or seven wins, and the ceiling is the moon.
So: Do you trust them?
"We’re ahead of (last summer), just the natural progression," Reid said last month. "That’s a good feeling. We were able to add some more to our packages. The guys weren’t shocked by it. Last year, every day was a new day and it was a heavy workload plus the mental part of that and the new scheme. They are quite a bit ahead of that."
Last July, the honeymoon.
This July, the test of faith.